Sunday, January 12, 2014

If Jesus...



If Jesus existed today, where would he stand on an economic chart.  Would he be a capitalist?  Maybe a socialist?  It might be that the man, who I do not believe existed, might have been an outright communist.  But lets back off that question for a moment, where you Jesus fall in the political spectrum.  Was the man liberal, conservative, libertarian or moderate?  To answer these questions, we need to have a basic understanding of what is what.  What is a liberalism, conservatism, libertarian, socialism, communism, moderate, and capitalist.

Capitalism
a way of organizing an economy so that the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) are owned by individual people and companies rather than by the government


Communism
a way of organizing a society in which the government owns the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) and there is no privately owned property


Conservatism
belief in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society
dislike of change or new ideas in a particular area


Libertarian
a person who believes that people should be allowed to do and say what they want without any interference from the government


Liberalism
belief in the value of social and political change in order to achieve progress


Moderate
Opposed to radical or extreme views or measures, especially in politics or religion.
One who holds or champions moderate views or opinions, especially in politics or religion.


Socialism
(Economics) an economic theory or system in which the means of production, distribution, and exchange are owned by the community collectively, usually through the state. It is characterized by production for use rather than profit, by equality of individual wealth, by the absence of competitive economic activity, and, usually, by government determination of investment, prices, and production levels.

Now that the wall of text has begun, we are still at the starting point, what was Jesus, what were his economic and political leanings.  Well, we only have one real source material, and that is far from perfect.  Ideally we would have others accounts of the man, his deeds and actions, but we just have the book.  It is evident that Jesus was very much a humanist.  We know this because he healed the sick, fed the masses, and generally showed many humanist aspects to his self.  We can also say that he was very liberal, he tossed out the old rules, and created new ones, as the legend goes. 

Jesus openly identified himself as being part of the people, specifically the poor, the ill, those who were imprisoned, and those who were hungry (kind of mute as the poor are often hungry).  See Matthew 25.  Jesus often spoke of helping our fellow man, giving us the story of the good Samaritan, without reward.  He also overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple, ran the sheep, cattle, doves, and traders from the same area.  Now as I understand it, these people were there with the blessing of those who ran the temple (feel free to correct me if I am in error, the New Testament is not my deal).  That is not Capitalistic or Libertarian, but its not really liberal or socialist either, except maybe these people had an unfair advantage when compared to those outside the temple, we will leave that one with a question mark.  At points Jesus even goes full blown communist in his teachings.  See Acts.  So the question is, what exactly are we to take from the teachings.  First, I think it is safe to say that Jesus was not really a capitalist or libertarian.  Nor can we say that he preached for pure socialism or communism, but he did seem to hint at it.  I think we can all agree that he was a humanist, that we should tend to our fellow man (two things which are seemingly absent from the current climate of conservative, capitalist and libertarian philosophies.  Of course people will say that these teachings do not apply when the government forces it, and they have a point, but when people refuse to acknowledge a large problem, what choice do we have but to compel a government or church to act in accordance to our wishes?  That is the thing, if people really held true to the teachings of Jesus, the government would not be compelled to act as it does.  Jesus preached not against wealth, but he preached against acquiring wealth just to have it, and that with wealth came a responsibility, and that is the problem.  As with today, it is likely his creators saw people hording what they did not need, acquiring more than they could ever hope to use, and when that issue becomes to slanted it fosters hatred.  And there is one more thing, Jesus from my understanding was pretty put out by social inequality.  Just something to think about.

Just two charities I personally try to help in any way I can. 



The Richardson Family Charity

Funds to purchase a Gas Powered Heater for homeless family